Desire

Last night my husband and I went on a date. An actual dinner without children. We talked. We sipped drinks. Halfway through my sidecar I realized I was fired up, giddy about my subject matter, and rambling. That’s how I feel when I’m full of desire. It’s a stream of passion, enthusiasm, happiness, intensity, and a feeling of losing track of time.

Desire is on my mind. Yes, the sexual kind, too. Spring will do that to a person. I embrace the lengthening days, the growing sunshine, the increased outside time. I seek fresher and less food. I want to move more and sleep less. I’ve also been getting rested as the kids are sleeping a bit better. These things fuel the little fires in my body and my spirit. There is more motion all around me. The birds chirp, the insects buzz, the kids play loudly outdoors, and I feel stronger and more eager for motion.

By Marcus Obal, via Wikimedia Commons

By Marcus Obal, via Wikimedia Commons

This physical desire twins nicely with my obsession. What was I so fired up about on my date last night? My studies, my reading, my spiritual practices. If I’m not sitting at my altar, I’m thinking about pujas or offerings. If I’m not reading a book about something related to religion or spirituality, I’m thinking about when next I’ll get time to read. I’m seeking ways to embrace the fires, large and small, all around me.

I used to want to be the smartest girl in the world. For a long time I wanted advanced degrees, to be an expert, to write a book (I might still want to do that last one). Knowledge was what I was seeking, which was a form of power. I dreamed of being a stronger performer too, for performing is also a form of power. I sought both of those kinds of power out of a feeling of lack in myself. It was twisted desire, honest enough as it was.

I haven’t performed in a long time. I haven’t so much as sung scales. I sing a few lullabies at night, but that’s it. I’m hoping that when I sing again I’ll be prepared to be vulnerable, as that is where the power in performing comes from. Virtuosity is nothing; connecting with the audience is everything.

By Lin Kristensen via Wikimedia Commons

By Lin Kristensen via Wikimedia Commons

Now I seek those same forms of power, but I seek them from out of my own fullness. I see that a PhD in theology was not what I desired. I want the knowledge, not the degree. I want the development of ideas, not the academy. A PhD in religion studies was my secular, acceptable form of a monastic life. It was a way to approach my spiritual seeking without having to ask others for monetary support (like missionaries) or join some one else’s church or admit that I had such ancient (and impractical) desires

Clarity of desire, vulnerability, willingness to forego the acceptable, these are the things that spring is stirring in me. The surface layer is about health, movement, house hunting, cooking dinner, and so on. But the heart of my thoughts is desire. Desire for a spiritual life, for the mystery, for my own ashram.

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